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March 25, 2014


March 25, 2014

For additional information,
Contact: Amanda Shell Jennings
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661


Hundreds of students compete in regional competition March 27-29

High school robotics teams have been working for weeks to create robots that can work as a team to throw and pass balls and block goals in hopes of a first place finish at Tennessee’s largest robotics competition, the US FIRST Robotics Smoky Mountains Regional.

Eleven high school teams from the greater Knoxville area are among more than 50 regional entrants competing at the Smoky Mountains Regional at the Knoxville Convention Center this weekend, March 27-29.

Local teams from Webb, Knoxville Catholic, Farragut, Seymour, Gibbs, South-Doyle, Maryville, Halls and Clinton high schools and Hardin Valley and L&N STEM academies are competing in the event.

“We’re excited to welcome Smoky Mountains Regional back to our facility for a fourth year and to once again host hundreds of future leaders in science and engineering at the Convention Center,” said Knoxville Convention Center General Manager Mary Bogert. “This year’s competition presents another opportunity to develop science and engineering skills in young minds and to foster teamwork, critical thinking and friendly competition.”

Each year, the robotics competition has a different theme. This year’s theme is “Aerial Assist,” and the main competition involves creating offensive and defensive robots that throw or pass balls and block goals. Two alliances made up of high school students and sponsoring professional advisers stand at either end of a playing field. Each team has three robots, and the robot team that scores the most goals by passing the balls between the robots and through the goal posts on the opposite end of the field wins.

The US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition is a nationwide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program created by Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, to educate and motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in those fields, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills.

Practice rounds begin Thursday, March 27. The tournament-style competition will begin with qualifying rounds from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5:45 p.m. on Friday, March 28, and from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 29. The final rounds take place from 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Saturday with the final awards ceremony immediately following. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public Friday and Saturday.

Since the fall, local high school students have worked with professional engineers and adult mentors to recruit sponsors and raise funds for their robotics teams. A live telecast kicked off the 2014 FIRST robotics season and announced this year’s competition theme and unique robotics challenge to more than 70,000 students in 92 cities around the globe, including Knoxville, on Jan. 7. From that day, the teams had six short weeks to design, program and build their robots to participate in the 2014 Smoky Mountains Regional.

For 2014, more than $19 million in college scholarship opportunities from more than 160 scholarship providers and academic institutions are available to FIRST robotics participants.

 About the Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 27,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and up to 25 meeting rooms. For more information, visit